AUSTIN, Texas - There are a lot of concerns with Governor Greg Abbott's agenda heading into Tuesday. Many are calling on him to focus on real solutions to the challenges facing Texas in the special session.
"We will speak with one voice," says crowd.
That voice is for our public education system, which is why hundreds of educators from across the state were rallying at the Capitol on Monday. Many of them were holding signs pinpointing their concerns.
"Abbott, and especially Patrick, are not honest. So this is more or less like the "Goliath" or "Godzilla" throwing a ball at educators because that's who this is going to affect," says Suzi Kelley, veteran educator.
The Association of Texas Professional Educators helped put on the Texas for Education rally. Speakers discussed several issues including being against vouchers, because they say it takes away money from public schools. They also brought up the fact that legislators are trying to silence teachers' voices.
"The ones five years and under are gone. The ones who have been there, such as veterans as myself and some of my friends, we're sick of it. I'm looking at possibly other options which is sad because I absolutely love my job," says Kelley.
Governor Greg Abbott's agenda calls for a $1,000 pay raise for teachers. Veteran educator Suzi Kelley says it doesn't add up. There are concerns that since districts will have to fund this from within, it could lead to jobs, or school programs, being cut.
"I think Texas voters are sick of Republican leadership, particularly Dan Patrick, focusing on non-issues like the 'bathroom bill,'" says Representative Chris Turner, chair, House Democratic Caucus.
Inside the Capitol, House and Senate Democrats held their own gathering. They are calling on Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick to find real solutions to the challenges facing Texas in this special session.
"Addressing our broken public school funding system, helping new Texas mothers, improving our state's economy and finding ways to foster civic engagement and keep children out of our adult prison system," says Rep. Turner
They say that's what matters the most to Texans but it's being ignored. They hope for those issues to be added to the agenda.
"That are not divisive, that are not contentious, that in fact move people's lives forward. Communities in progress, the state in progress, with respect to everyone," says Senator Jose Rodriguez, chair, Texas Senate Democratic Caucus.
They anticipate legislation to be filed that is not on Governor Abbott's agenda. They are asking the public to bring up what they feel is important to their legislators and the governor, in hopes of moving these issues forward.